Monday, May 5, 2014

Mamasita, Melbourne CBD

The last time I was in Melbourne was back in early 2010. Now I know what you are thinking: WHY HAVEN'T I BEEN BACK SOONER?!?! After finally making my way back down there I asked myself that same question countless times. Now it's my chance to make up for all that lost time. Even though it was only a short weekend but better than nothing right? Because one of my friends was unable to take leave, we all flew out to Melbourne on late Friday night. By the time we checked into our hotel, it was already 11:00pm. Luckily I was researching for any late night restaurants in Melbourne and the first that popped inside my head was the extremely popular Mexican restaurant, Mamasita. Partly because of my love for Mexican food, regular mentions in the food press and overhearing the hype from other fellow Sydney bloggers who have also trekked to Melb in the past.

Complimentary Salsa Verde for the Tacos (which I used on everything!)

When we arrived at Mamasita at 11:30pm, there was actually no line (and it was a Friday night!) which was good to see especially after hearing from everyone about the epic 1 - 2 hour lines up the stairs to get inside this small restaurant. It was dimly light throughout the whole venue which was frustrating when trying to take photos (I apologise for the terrible photos!). In terms of the atmosphere it had a buzzing ambience though the crowd appeared to be dressed quite hipster and trendy plus there were so many couples (!!!) which made us felt a little out of place.

Mamasita Sangria (200ml: $8.00, Jug: $38.00)

The late night 'Taqueria' menu was a bit limited compared to the regular lunch and dinner menus but there were still the essential faves including the starters (corn, tortilla chips), tacos, ceviches, quesadillas and desserts. We started our night with a jug of sangria as always. While we did enjoy the sangria, it wasn't as fruity as we usually liked. It also wasn't as flavoursome and CC and S both thought it had a slight "soy-like taste" which was a bit odd.

Elote Callejero ($4.90 each)

After looking at the menu, we had our eyes on the Elote Callejero, which was street-style char-grilled corn coated with shredded queso fresco, chipotle mayo and lime. While CC still preferred the much sweeter corn from Queenie's, I devoured the juicy, messy, and tangy kernels in no less than a heart beat. While it was a savoury and relatively spicy dish thanks to the mayo, queso cheese and paprika that melts so easily as you bite into them, it was well-complemented with the sweetness of the corn and a squeeze of the lime thus bringing a burst of exciting flavours to the taste buds. It really was mouthwatering goodness! Was pretty bummed when I demolished my share. If you are looking for something similar in Sydney, the corn at Ms G's is very similar to this in my opinion.

Taco de Arrachera - grilled flank steak, guacamole, tomatilla salsa and red onion ($6.00) 

Taco de Puerco - Al Pastor- style pig's cheek, fiery apple and while cabbage ($6.00)

If I lived in Melbourne, I would have checked out Mamasita on a regular basis just for the soft shell tacos. Initially S wanted to get the Ox Tongue taco but after realising that there's ghost chilli mayo, we each ordered a steak taco instead (according to Man v Food, ghost chilli is one of the spiciest chillies EVER but from hearing other people trying this taco before it sounds like this was quite mild actually)The flank steak was so juicy, tender and zesty thanks to the smear of creamy guacamole and tomatilla salsa. I also ordered the Taco de Puerco (Pig cheek), which was actually one my faves from the night. It may look simple, messy and minimal (sorry for the terrible pic) but the meat was wonderfully cooked with a firm, crispy, spit-grilled taste with the crunchiness from the salad and the apple. Both were very delicious, moreish and surprisingly filling since the girls were already getting full by this point.  

Quesadilla de Huitlacoche ($14.00)

We also ordered a Quesadilla de Huitlacoche to share when we noticed that it has mushrooms in the filling. Its fillings also include Huitlacoche (or Mexican truffle...or corn smut. Ignorance is bliss. Damn you Google), queso crillo, corn, epazote, pico de gallo and queso fresco. And I'm sure the green stuff on top is jalapeno. Yup there's no sign of meat or fish in this dish so it's good if you're a strict vegetarian. This looked similar to a pizza in terms of presentation with cheese scattered on top of the tortilla. Nice earthy taste thanks to the Mexican truffle and mushrooms inside combined with the generous amounts of cheese. Wasn't as flavoursome as I would have hoped but good to eat if you are looking to eat something with a milder flavour. With those ingredients, I can imagine seeing a dish like this somewhere in the streets of Mexico.

After trying a sample of the dishes from the late night menu, I could imagine why so many people would be so keen to line up for so long for this restaurant especially when there's a decent number of Mexican restaurants in the city. The prices were quite reasonable given the portions for some dishes though it was not the cheapest in my opinion. I was very disappointed that the popular tostaditas were not included on the late night menu. If I live in Melbourne, I can imagine coming back here again to try many of the other dishes including the tortilla chips, the tostaditas and the ceviches since I really enjoyed my time here. If only I'm a patient person when it comes to ridiculously long queues at peak dining hours since they only do bookings for groups of 8-10 people. Since I will most likely be returning back to Melbourne a few more times in the near future, hopefully I can squeeze in a session at Mamasita during its non-peak dining hours as an afternoon snack.

Level 1, 11 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9650 3821
Mon-Thurs: 11:30am - Midnight
Fri: 11:30am - 2:00am
Sat: 12:30pm - 2:00am
Sun: 12:30pm - 10:00pm
Mamasita on Urbanspoon


  1. Dear Annie,

    The corn looks good and that skewer is perfect for holding it upright on a plate and slicing out all the kernels with a serrated knife. That is the only way I would eat corn so the kernels don't get stuck between my teeth.

    1. oh good tip! thanks for that :). definitely one of my fave dishes at Mamasita

  2. Aww so jealous! I really really really really want to check out mamasita!

    1. my tip is to go during the non-peak hours. we went on friday night around 11pm and there was no queue at all. however my melb friend had to wait around 90 mins once

  3. I've never made it here but the chefs cooked for an event I was at and the food was good!

  4. I miss the Elote Callejero!!! Looks like you had heaps of fun in Melbourne :D

    1. yeah we did :D. so many places to eat in so little time though.